Foreign Policy and Sea Power: India's Maritime Role Flux

Zorawar Daulet Singh is an author and foreign affairs analyst and a Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. His recent books include India China Relations: The Border Issue and Beyond and Chasing the Dragon: Will India Catch up with China? Previously he was a Fellow at the Centre for Policy Alternatives in New Delhi. Zorawar holds a PhD in international relations from King’s College London, a M.A. in international relations from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University and a B.Sc. from the University of London where he majored in economics and finance.
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  • October 2017

    The core argument this article makes is that India’s maritime worldview and role conceptions have not only been evolving since the 1950s, but they have also been closely interlinked with how policymakers thought about India’s regional identity and the state’s economic capacity to release resources towards sea power. Today, there are three maritime role conceptions that are vying for the apex’s strategic attention, and they are reflective of a deeper role flux in India’s regional identity. While these maritime role conceptions may not be entirely mutually exclusive, each role implies a foreign policy posture, maritime doctrine and a logical force structure. This article will explicate the evolution of these maritime role conceptions; offer reasons for the role flux in recent years; and highlight key, contemporary policy-relevant issues to anchor the debate on the inter-relationship between foreign policy and sea power.

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